• 'Disney Plus’ was Google’s top US trending search term in 2019
    TechCrunch

    'Disney Plus’ was Google’s top US trending search term in 2019

    Google today released its annual "Year in Search" data that takes a look back at some of the most notable searches of 2019. Specifically, Google looked at the biggest trends -- meaning, search terms that saw the largest spikes in traffic over a sustained period in 2019 compared to 2018. In the U.S., Disney's new streaming service "Disney Plus" was the biggest search trend of 2019, followed by Cameron Boyce, Nipsey Hussle, Hurricane Dorian, Antonio Brown, Luke Perry, Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, iPhone 11 and Jussie Smollet.

  • PayPal's exiting COO Bill Ready to join Google as its new president of Commerce
    TechCrunch

    PayPal's exiting COO Bill Ready to join Google as its new president of Commerce

    In June, PayPal announced its Chief Operating Officer Bill Ready would be departing the company at the end of this year. Now we know where he's ending up: Google. Ready will join Google in January as the company's new commerce chief, reporting directly to Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP, Ads, Commerce and Payments.

  • See Big Opportunity in Digital Transformation: Franklin Technology Fund
    Bloomberg

    See Big Opportunity in Digital Transformation: Franklin Technology Fund

    Dec.11 -- Jonathan Curtis, portfolio manager at Franklin Technology Fund, discusses his outlook for the tech sector in 2020. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: Asia."

  • Aramco Reaches Prince’s $2 Trillion Goal in Second-Day Surge
    Bloomberg

    Aramco Reaches Prince’s $2 Trillion Goal in Second-Day Surge

    (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco shares jumped for a second day, with the oil giant's value hitting the $2 trillion mark that alienated global investors and potentially making further share sales abroad more difficult.The stock climbed by the daily 10% limit to 38.7 riyals at the open in Riyadh before trimming gains. It was up 5.8% at 37.20 riyals at 1:54 p.m. local time in trading of 381 million shares, compared with 31.6 million for all of Wednesday.The surge reflects the kingdom’s efforts to engineer a successful start to trading after international investors balked at the price: Saudia Arabia encouraged local individuals to buy and hold the stock through cheap loans and a bonus-share plan, while pushing wealthy families and regional allies to buy as well. The offering consisted of only 1.5% of Aramco’s stock, so that investors who didn’t get allocated shares in the IPO had to buy in the secondary market.Aramco raised $25.6 billion in the deal, selling shares at 32 riyals each and overtaking Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. as the most valuable listed company.The IPO has become synonymous with Saudi Arabia’s controversial Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his efforts to reshape the economy of the world’s biggest oil exporter. But his insistence on the $2 trillion valuation deterred international investors, many of whom said the stock was too expensive given governance and geopolitical concerns.Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said after the first trading day it’s already time to cash out. In a Bloomberg survey last month, global money managers put Aramco’s fair value at between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion.While hitting the target may vindicate Saudi officials, it could complicate any plans to sell part of Aramco’s shares abroad as originally envisaged by Prince Mohammed in 2016, when he said a dual listing could raise as much as $100 billion. Saudi officials met in recent weeks with international investors to sound them out on a possible listing of Aramco’s shares in Asia, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.Still, the IPO, touted as part of a blueprint for life after oil for the kingdom is a watershed moment for a business that’s bankrolled Saudi Arabia and its rulers for decades.The debut was cheered by Saudi and Gulf investors, who see the stock price supported by Aramco’s guaranteed dividends, buying by index-tracking funds and the fact that the region doesn’t have any other listed major oil companies.Read: The Wall Street Bankers Who Burst Aramco’s $2 Trillion BubbleAramco’s “$2 trillion valuation is justified due to secured dividend streams,” Arqaam Capital analysts including Rita Guindy and Jaap Meijer wrote in a report on Wednesday in which they initiated coverage with a buy recommendation and price target of 39.20 riyals.Arqaam expects a gradual increase of 2% annually in the dividend, potentially being topped up by a special payout of $20 billion in the next three years.(Updates price in second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Paul Wallace.To contact the reporter on this story: Filipe Pacheco in Dubai at fpacheco4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net, Phil SerafinoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Apple supplier Japan Display to receive $830 million from asset manager Ichigo
    Reuters

    Apple supplier Japan Display to receive $830 million from asset manager Ichigo

    Apple supplier Japan Display Inc said on Thursday it plans to receive up to 90 billion yen ($830 million) in financial support from Japanese asset manager Ichigo Asset Management. Ichigo will join Apple and Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer Wistron Corp in bailing out the advanced liquid crystal display (LCD) maker. Apple's commitment to financially support Japan Display has reassured potential investors, two sources with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

  • Can DuckDuckGo replace Google search while offering better privacy?
    The Guardian

    Can DuckDuckGo replace Google search while offering better privacy?

    Can DuckDuckGo replace Google search while offering better privacy?The alternative search engine markets itself on protecting users’ privacy, but is it worth using?

  • Bloomberg

    Nintendo Switch China Sales Could Reach 4 Million by March, Analyst Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Only a few days after Nintendo Co.’s Switch made its long-anticipated entry into China, one analyst is making a bullish case for Mario and Zelda’s prospects in the world’s biggest gaming arena.Nintendo could sell as many as four million Switch units in China in the fiscal year ending March and 12 million units of software, London-based tech equity researcher Pelham Smithers wrote in a note to clients. That could add as much as 23 billion yen ($212 million) to the Kyoto-based company’s full-year operating profit, Smithers said.Nintendo and its local partner Tencent Holdings Ltd. began selling the Switch console in China on Dec. 10, a move that has excited Nintendo investors hopeful of tapping a new market. But the optimism has been tampered by the historically lackluster performance of Sony Corp.’s PlayStation and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox consoles, which have had several years to crack the market where smartphones are the dominant gaming platform. Video game giants are also hampered by Beijing’s insistence on vetting all games, which limits the library available to fans and slows new releases. At launch, the Switch only had one state-approved game to play.“While the history of the game console in China is not a happy one, lack of success is not necessarily down to lack of interest on the part of the consumer,” Smithers wrote in the report. “After all: if China’s consumers didn’t play console video games, the authorities wouldn’t have bothered banning them in the first place.”Key Insights:Switch hardware sales in China may range between 2 million and 4 million units in fiscal 2019 and between 3 million and 6 million the following year. Software sales will range between 6 million and 12 million in the current period and 15 million and 30 million in the period ending March 2021.China could contribute between 11.6 billion yen and 23.1 billion yen to Nintendo’s operating profit this year and 27.8 billion to 55.6 billion yen in the next.Smithers forecasts a ratio of three game purchases for each hardware unit sold in both years.He also assumes Tencent takes a 30% share of software sales income, while all of the hardware revenue goes to Nintendo, and that the two companies split the marketing costs.Nintendo’s sales in China may be capped by the company’s unwillingness to significantly increase production volume of the console and risk building up unsold inventory.Nintendo’s signature device is selling for 2,099 yuan ($298), about the same as elsewhere around the world. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe have been green-lit by the government. Nintendo is also preparing to introduce the Switch Lite -- a cheaper version of the console intended to boost the device’s mainstream appeal -- to China at a future date, development partner Tencent said in a social media post last week.Sales of the Switch might have topped 50,000 units on launch day, according to market researcher Niko Partners, which gathers data from online retailers. Some 20,000 units were sold via JD.com and another 10,000 through TMall, it said in a report. Niko Partners forecasts the sales will reach 100,000 units by the end of the year, far below the 1 to 2 million estimated by Smithers.This isn’t Nintendo’s first attempt to crack the market. Official console sales in China remain a fraction of the overall gaming arena, as region locks and delayed hardware releases push gamers toward imported options. Nintendo confronted similar challenges in attempts to enter China dating back to 2003. It tried to sell, via a joint venture, its Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 3DS and a peculiar China-only portable console called iQue Player. Rampant piracy and slow game launches made those products unappealing.Elsewhere, Nintendo’s Switch retains its popularity three years after its launch, in an industry where consoles are often revamped every half-decade or so. The company has so far stuck with a conservative outlook for 18 million Switch units this fiscal year. Smithers thinks full-year sales outside of China could range between 20 and 21 million.Read more: Nintendo Will Prove the Switch’s Longevity This Holiday SeasonThe company’s shares have climbed more than 50% this year on the anticipation of the Switch’s China debut, the release of a smartphone edition of the Mario Kart franchise and the launch of the cheaper Switch Lite. Nintendo is likely to revise upwards its full-year earnings forecasts when it reports results in January, which could tempt some investors to sell and lock in gains, Smithers wrote.“Even if it doesn’t, this quarter’s figures should impress,” he said.\--With assistance from Zheping Huang.To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Vlad Savov, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google, Facebook Market Power Gets More Scrutiny in Australia
    Bloomberg

    Google, Facebook Market Power Gets More Scrutiny in Australia

    (Bloomberg) -- Google and Facebook Inc. will come under greater scrutiny from Australia’s competition regulator as the government seeks to rein in the market dominance of the digital giants.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a special unit will be set up within the competition watchdog to monitor digital platforms, with an immediate focus on online advertising. The government will also review privacy laws to better protect consumers. Morrison pledged to tackle the “power imbalance” between tech companies and traditional media and will force them to negotiate over revenue sharing and the use of news content.The announcement Thursday was Morrison’s response to a sweeping report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission this year that raised concerns about the use and storage of personal data and the erosion of the mainstream media. The government supported, in varying degrees, most of the watchdog’s 23 recommendations but said more time was needed to consider such complex issues.“I want us to be the model jurisdiction in the world for how we are dealing with digital platforms,” Morrison told reporters. “We have regulation and restrictions that were written for an analog economy. If it’s wrong in the real world, it’s wrong in the digital world.”Tech platforms will have to work with news companies to develop a voluntary code to govern their relationship by November 2020, or else the government will consider a mandatory code.Some RejectionsMorrison rejected the ACCC’s call for new rules to force content to be taken off digital platforms in the event of copyright infringement. He also rejected changing tax rules to encourage philanthropic support for journalism.Australia’s government is “kicking the issues down the road a little bit,” said Rob Nicholls, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales Business School in Sydney. While the need for further consultation is understandable, delays in acting “essentially mean that competition and consumers are left in the status quo that the ACCC has already identified as being unacceptable.”Google, Facebook Face Australia Crackdown on Market PowerRegulators worldwide have been trying to loosen the tech giants’ grip on everything from advertising and search engines, to news, data and elections.Broader HurdlesFacebook, the world’s largest social media company, is grappling with a mushrooming list of challenges, including antitrust investigations, criticism of its handling of personal information, and dissatisfaction with its treatment of political content.In July, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission -- the largest privacy fine in the agency’s history -- to resolve the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Google was also fined by the FTC to settle claims it violated children’s privacy on its YouTube platform.Google said Thursday it would continue to engage with the ACCC and the Australian government on areas “such as privacy, ad tech and our work with publishers.”Facebook said it was an opportune time for the government and industry to work on new regulation “that affords choice and opportunities for millions of Australians that use our services.” The company remains focused on “achieving economy-wide privacy protection.”To contact the reporters on this story: Edward Johnson in Sydney at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net;Sybilla Gross in Sydney at sgross61@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net, Angus WhitleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The UK General Election and the ECB Put the GBP and EUR in Focus
    FX Empire

    The UK General Election and the ECB Put the GBP and EUR in Focus

    It’s finally election day in the UK. Can Johnson win a majority and deliver on Brexit or is there more pain to come. There’s also the ECB.

  • FedEx Q2 2020 Earnings Preview: Time to Buy Beaten Down FDX Stock?
    Zacks

    FedEx Q2 2020 Earnings Preview: Time to Buy Beaten Down FDX Stock?

    Should investors think about buying beaten down FedEx stock before it releases its second quarter fiscal 2020 earnings results on Tuesday, December 17?